Science Gallery Dublin Examines Authenticiy With FAKE

From fake meat to fake emotions, if faking it gets the job done, who cares? In both the natural world and human society, faking, mimicking and copying can be a reliable strategy for success. When the focus is on how things appear, a fake may be just as valuable as the real thing. But what about replicating taste, emotions, chemical signatures, facts and trademarks? Have patents, politics, and art given copying a bad name?

From biomimicry to forged documents, from scandals to substitutes, FAKE, the new free exhibition at Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin, asks when authenticity is essential, when copying is cool, and what the boundary is between a fakery faux-pas and a really fantastic FAKE. The exhibition will run until 3rd June.

Speaking ahead of the exhibition’s launch, Lynn Scarff, Director at Science Gallery Dublin, said: “Our interest in FAKE extends beyond ‘fake news’ and ‘alternative facts’. At its core, this exhibition probes our society’s flexibility with fact and fiction. What we have found is that context, culture and technology can determine whether something is a tall tale, a white lie, or a travesty, and this evolving contextualisation of fakery is impacting all realms of society and culture, from journalism and politics to art and science.”

Some of the exhibition’s highlights include:

  • Giant Pool of Money — artist Matt Kenyon examines the thoughts and beliefs that led to the global financial crisis in this exhibit of champagne glasses, gallium coins and a Bitcoin miner. Combining an almost literal interpretation of trickle-down theory with the aesthetic of Terminator 2’s bad guy.
  • The Art of Deception — this exhibit by Isaac Monté and Toby Kiers examines the future of organ transplantation with a collection of designer, personalised hearts, created using a biomedical technique known as decellularisation.
  • synthHAsizer — by Laura Allcorn and the Institute For Comedic Inquiry. We fake laughter all the time. We do it to be polite, hide our ignorance, and even to fit in. Our social interactions sometimes depend on it. The synthHAsizer is a tool for playing with this verbal display of communication. With it, visitors record their own fake laugh and use sonic filters to remix it from fake to real.
  • Mississippi Swan: Daybew! — by Chris Tonkin and Rick Snow. Can fake music sound even better than the real thing? This AI-driven exhibit generates a new album of songs every fifteen minutes — generating up to seventy unique EPs, or around 700 unique songs, every day. Visitors can press a button on the installation that triggers the creation of a unique album at any moment of their choosing.

The full list of exhibits is available at, along with a programme of events, talks, workshops and gigs running alongside the exhibition.


A full programme of events, talks, and workshops will run alongside the exhibition — please find some of the highlights below and visit for a full list and to register for tickets.



Join us for a four-part evening series where we uncover the art of deception and fraud in our everyday lives. From art and science to the spoken word and the news we read each day, ‘the fake narrative’ permeates every element of the modern culture.

For each topic, we will be joined by an expert who will explore the value of authenticity, the rise of junk news, and ask whether in a globalised economy counterfeit products can ever be as good as the genuine article. Tickets will be available at €5 per lecture, or visitors can purchase a bundle of four tickets for €15.

The Genuine Article: Newsworthy or News Wary?


Journalism is changing fast and how we consume news media even faster. With the majority of people looking online as the source of their news feed, how can we make sure the news we read is the full truth? Social media has opened up a new world, providing journalists with new avenues of sources and information, but there is also an increased danger of misinformation. This talk will explore the area of verification in the news media in detail.

Masters of Deception: Fakery in the Natural World


Join Trinity College Dublin professors Fiona Newell and Nicola Marples for an entertaining talk on deception in the natural world. Together, they will compare and contrast animals and humans in their ability to fake behaviours to meet their goals.

The Art of Faking It: The Science of Forgery in Art


For as long as there have been artists, there have been forgers; and for every forgery scandal, there is a criminal at the centre who not only produces a convincing fake, but who also understands how to corrupt the very systems of attributions and authenticity relied on by the art market. With Dominic Milmo-Penny, art historian and dealer and an expert in the field, we will explore how science combats the forger and the contextualisation of the fake with a capital F.

Scientific B*llsh*t: How to smell a [lab] rat


At times of great uncertainty and turmoil, a collective increase in anxiety fuels the rapid online dissemination of false information. We have seen how in the 21st century, science, health and politics are often the target of fake news where, the lines between opinions, personal experiences and facts are often blurred. How can we decode the truth behind the headline? Joseph Roche (Trinity College Dublin) and Declan Fahy (Dublin City University) will join us to help equip us with the tools to help spot the warning signs, the pseudoscience claims and everything in between.



Is extinction forever? Efforts are under way to use gene editing and other tools of biotechnology to ‘recreate’ extinct species such as the woolly mammoth and the passenger pigeon. Could such ‘de-extinction’ initiatives aid conservation by reviving species lost to habitat destruction and climate change? Or are they more likely to hinder conservation? In this series of events, we look at what the guiding ideals of conservation should be in this new age of biotechnology.

De-extinction Revival: What Would it Really Cost?


De-extinction is no longer the sole work of sci-fi movies and books: it is part of the conservation toolkit of the 21st century. Scientists have already finagled a few ways to resurrect long-gone species from their evolutionary graves. Andrew Mooney from Trinity College Dublin’s zoology department will join us for this talk on the social, ethical and legal ramifications are of proposed de-extinction.

Animal Re-Animation


Reconstructing what extinct animals looked like has never been easy, but such depictions offer an opportunity to bring new life to something long gone. If you had the chance to reanimate the dodo or passenger pigeon, how would you interpret their behaviour, what they ate or where they lived? Join us for a very special illustration workshop in collaboration with the Natural History Museum to start sketching extinct animals out of extinction.



19.04.18 // €5

Join us for an evening lecture with award-winning designer Annie Atkins, who has created artifacts and props for numerous films, including three Oscar-nominated productions: animated feature The Boxtrolls, Steven Spielberg’s Cold War thriller Bridge of Spies, and Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel — which went on to win the Academy Award for Best Production Design. In this talk, Annie will take us behind the scenes and show us how deception and forgery are what make a film truly great.




In the endless of Instagram selfies and photoshop filters, does this new image-focused age and the socially imposed standards in beauty have any effect on us? In this panel discussion, in partnership with the Health Research Board, we explore the themes of body image, obsessive-compulsive traits and dysmorphia.



In 2008, a forgotten corner of Trinity College Dublin was transformed into a living experiment called Science Gallery Dublin. Through a cutting-edge programme that ignites creativity and discovery where science and art collide, the nonprofit encourages young people to learn through their interests. Since its opening, more than three million visitors to the gallery have experienced over 42 unique exhibitions ranging from design and violence to light and love, and from contagion and biomimicry to the futures of the human species and play. Science Gallery Dublin develops an ever-changing programme of exhibitions and events fuelled by the expertise of scientists, researchers, students, artists, designers, inventors, creative thinkers and entrepreneurs. The focus is on providing programmes and experiences that allow visitors to participate and facilitate social connections, always providing an element of surprise. Science Gallery is an initiative of Trinity College Dublin and kindly supported by our founding partner, Wellcome Trust, and by our ‘Science Circle’ members — Deloitte, ESB, Google, ICON, and NTR Foundation. Science Gallery Dublin receives support from programme partners Intel Ireland, The Marker Hotel and Walls to Workstations. It also receives government support from the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and Science Foundation Ireland. Science Gallery Dublin’s media partner is The Irish Times. For more information, visit:


At the vanguard of the STEM to STEAM movement, Science Gallery International is leading the creation of the world’s first university-linked network dedicated to public engagement with science and art, igniting the creative potential of young people globally to tackle the world’s biggest challenges. Through its galleries, pop-up programmes and touring exhibitions, the Global Science Gallery Network has reached millions of 15 to 25-year-olds with inspiring and participative transdisciplinary programmes featuring emerging research and ideas from the worlds of art, science, design and technology. Following the pioneering founding of Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin, galleries are currently in development at King’s College London, the University of Melbourne, the Indian Institute of Science, and Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, with a Science Gallery Lab at Michigan State University (Detroit) and expansion of Labs into Latin America and Africa planned by 2020. To learn more about Science Gallery International, visit


Trinity College Dublin is recognised internationally as Ireland’s leading university. The university offers world-class teaching and scholarship in all major academic disciplines across the arts, humanities, engineering, science, social and health sciences. More than 17,000 students benefit from an education that is inspired by current research and taught by academics at the frontiers of their disciplines. A Trinity education encourages the development of critical skills and is adaptive to the needs of current and future students and graduates. To learn more about Trinity College Dublin, visit

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